While I was doing research for our trip to Manchester, I found Chetham's Library. It's the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom. I was sold when I read the words oldest and library.
The library itself is quite small and you can't look at any of the books. They're all locked up and fenced in on shelves. It's a bit sad, but I can understand the concern. We have to conserve the old tomes of years past. There wasn't much to do in the library itself, but it was still lovely to be able to spend a few moments with such beautiful old books.